History of OTD

An Abridged History of the Office of Talent Development


Logo OTD

The Office of Talent Development (OTD) is the learning center for the City of Memphis Government. It is a service center housed under the Human Resources Division and sited at 4225 Riverdale Road in Memphis, Tennessee.

The OTD was established in November 2011, under the administration of Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. Serving along with the executive team, which includes Chief Administrative Officer George Little and Human Resource Director Quintin Robinson, Dr. Douglas Scarboro was designated as the Chief Learning Officer for the new program. Prior to becoming the OTD, the learning center had gone through a series of changes in its efforts to develop into a knowledge-based training epicenter for City employees.

A. Founding
In the mid-nineties, Employee Special Services led the charge for training new and existing employees. Simultaneously the service center coordinated a potpourri of employee services (e.g. tuition reimbursement, employee recognition, annual employee picnic, and other special events). In an effort to integrate a continuous improvement of quality in the delivery of services, products, and processes, an initiative called Total Quality Management (TQM) was implemented. With Mary Elrod, heading the initiative as TQM Manager, certified liaisons were assigned to City divisions to assist in executing quality principles.

B. Growth and Maturing of the OTD
In 2002, a new service center was created and called Quality and Professional Development (QPD). CAO Rick Masson and HRD Westell Florez aspired to have greater effectiveness through TQM practices, which was a key factor that led to this major change. Pearl Gibson was hired as the Manager of Quality Management for the purpose of redesigning the Quality Excellence Initiative. Along with this new integrative philosophy of management, training for all city employees became a responsibility of the service center. The mission of the QPD was to determine the training needs of the organization and the staff and provide a curriculum that would enhance the overall development status.

In December 2004, Pearl Gibson was promoted to Benefits Manager. Berlinda Williams became the new QPD Manager until December 2006 when the quality management program was eliminated. From 2006 – 2007, Felicia Boyd served as the Interim Administrator.

In December 2007, under the reign of a new administration, CAO Keith McGee and HRD Lorene Essex inaugurated the former QPD service center as the Academy of Learning and Development. Dr. R. Rita Dorsey was employed as the Learning Officer. The mission of the ALD was “to promote an organizational culture which demonstrated and implements a teaching and learning environment aimed at the educational and personal enrichment of employees, thereby promoting excellence in customer expectations.” Between January 2008 and December 2011, over 5700 city employees attended training at the ALD.

C. The Organization Today
As January 2012 begins, the OTD is vibrantly preparing to align the goals and objectives of the organization with those of the newly re-elected Mayor, A C Wharton, Jr. Mayor Wharton’s priorities are key factors that will alter the status and course of the organization.

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